When writing your Google ad, there seems to be no shortage of things to include in your itty bitty text ad space. You need a headline that grabs the readers’ attention, correct keyword usage to make Google happy, a CTA, a display URL that shows just how relevant your landing page is to the searcher, and more. Stuffing all your values, offers, and creativity into the space that Google allows for your ad can make you feel like a Genie squeezing himself into a lamp.
Of all the ads on the internet, so many of them miss a crucial part. Can you guess what these ads are missing? It’s the knockout blow at the end of a fight; it’s the bow on a perfectly wrapped gift, and it’s the entire point of a sales pitch. It’s the CTA (call to action); you can write all day about how wonderful a product is, but if you don’t even try to suggest that someone buy it, then what’s all the effort for?
Take, for example, someone that needs to get their car repaired. These are the results that Google has to show:
This searcher has one goal in mind: to fix their car. Step one is to contact someone; knowing how much the average American depends on their personal vehicle, they probably would like to call a shop to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Notice that not one of these ads has a phone number listed; in fact, you have to search through the description text to see if any of the companies will let you call them.
As shown in the example above, a clear call to action is necessary to prompt a customer to click on your ad. If you’re saying, “But listen, I do have a call to action in my ads; customers just aren’t clicking.” Then never fear, here are five reasons that your call to actions may just not be getting clicks:
1. Make Your Google Ads CTA Visible
Many companies hide their calls to action in the description text. Even a call to action placed in the description is better than nothing, in fact, it can often be a good idea to end your description text with a call to action.
According to Time Magazine, the average internet user has about an eight-second attention span. Meaning, if someone has taken the time to actually read through your description, then it would be an absolute waste not to place a call to action at the end of it.
Take a look at this chiropractor ad:
There we go, their call to action is smack at the end of the description and in plain view.
Again, the call to action that’s in the description is better than nothing, but it’s not the best. The better place to put your call to action is in the headlines – why? Because most people aren’t reading the descriptions; they only have enough time in their minds to read headlines. The first headline should catch their eye, and the second headline should convince them to click.
This ad is clear as day, and I don’t even have to read any of the text below to know what to do. I’ll click that ad and call for my appointment.
While you may be thinking that using a headline for a call to action is a waste of valuable real estate, it’s very, very worth it. Going back to the fact that people on the internet don’t waste their time reading full ads, you’ll want to use that ad space for a giant, clear call to action. This leads me to my next point; your call to action needs to be clear.
2. Give a Clear Benefit for Following the CTA
Even a cat knows that every action has a reaction; pushing the soap will make it fall off the counter, and that is the basic science of how the world goes ‘round. In order for a customer to perform your call to action, they must be told two things: what to do, and what will happen. Assuming that a person will know what to do if you don’t tell them makes an as- well, you know the saying.
Telling the person what you want them to do is the easy part; depending on your business and offer, the action you want them to take can greatly vary. A brief list of action words follow:
Honestly, the list of potential actions is as long as there are verbs in the English language. You can use positive verbs such as, “save” & “get” & “enjoy”, or you can use negative verbs such as, “stop” & “don’t” & “quit” to pack that emotional punch into your call to action.
Then all you have to do is complete it. They know what you want them to do, but why should they do it? Where is the carrot? There are plenty of ways to entice someone to click:
- Save $25 When You Buy Today
- Get Your Month Free – On Us
- Call & See How We Can Help You
- Start Saving Money Today W/ Us
- Stop Wasting Time – Book Today
As you can see, not all of these CTAs include an offer. Of course, people love seeing that they get $25 off a purchase or a free month, but you don’t have to start by throwing your top offer at them. Sometimes all a person wants to do is see if and how you can help them.
3. Add Urgency to Your CTA
If given the opportunity, people will flip between you…your competitor…another competitor…you…and back again. Their reasoning is logical; they want the best offer out there, but you know that you’re the best! Instead of letting them mosey around the competition, create some urgency in your ads. Make them want to click and convert during those eight seconds of attention that they’re lending you.
Most advertisers believe that throwing the word “now” into their ad does the trick; they type in those three letters, thank their stars that it doesn’t take up more ad space, and then they pat themselves on the back. Stop that.
The word “now” is fine, but considering that people on the internet are constantly being told to “buy now” and “do this now”, they’ve grown immune to that word. It doesn’t create the sense of urgency that it used to. Not alone, anyway.
Instead of telling your client to “book now”, try explaining why: “24 Hours Left – Book Now”. This works for real offers that will end in 24 hours or won’t be available later. Google lets you set up countdown timers as well.
You can also pair the word “now” with gratification because people love things that are instant:
This does a great job for someone who doesn’t have a lawyer and just wants to ask some quick questions. There’s no demand for commitment, but there’s a promise of instant answers.
The word “today” is similar; while it puts less pressure on someone to buy that instant, it’s still a word that’s heavily overused in marketing. If you still want to use it, again, make sure it’s paired with a tantalizing offer. My personal favorite was: “Buy Today – Delivery In 2 Days”. Will your consumers be more likely to buy today if their product is delivered to their door in just two days? You betcha.
4. Change the Tone of Your CTA
Humans are notorious for hating to be bossed around; we like to think that we’re the smartest in the room, so when someone orders us to perform an action without any form of explanation, we tend to resist.
To be absolutely frank, the action that you’re requiring your customers to take is probably very, very easy, and instructing them to “click here” isn’t always necessary. This seems contradictory to point two, but don’t out verbs and actions in your call to action; consider rewording your calls to action to be less threatening instead.
So many companies will focus on closing the deal with as much aggression as possible, and they’ll often come across as spam or demanding. Trust and rapport are huge in today’s world of hiding behind screens, and you can start building that trust as early as your Google Ads.
Think about a salesman; when you meet a good one, what do you say? “I like him.” You like his tone, his humor, his personality; you like the person. The same principle applies to ad copy. Approach your audience as a friend that you’re trying to recommend, and don’t hesitate to write with some style.
Of the options below, I’d instantly consider the third option down because I can hear my friend saying, “you just always know what’s for dinner!”, and if I’m hesitant, the option right below tells me, “These meal prep companies will set you free”. It’s like they know me and how entrapped I feel by having to plan and cook my meals!
5. Make Your CTA #relatable
Remember, your ads are not written for you. Nobody cares about you; people just want to know what you can do for them. Perhaps that wording is harsh, and XX apologizes for any hurt feelings, but you have to face the truth at some point.
We already reviewed how combining actions and offers is killer, so that’s not what this part is about. Don’t skip. This is about knowing your audience’s intent level- and matching your offer to it.
So many business owners and salesmen want to have their potential clients convert immediately. They have the true-love-at-first-sight syndrome, but the reality isn’t like that. Many sales require a relationship to be built, and that requires work from you, the company. In order to guide your consumer’s money down the marketing funnel and into your wallet, you must know how to match keywords to the offer.
Take a look at these women clothing subscription search results:
The first ad isn’t horrible, but if your customer has never heard of you, they’re likely to pass by.
The third and fourth ad terrify me. When I read, “Try Your First Bento Box”, it confuses me (food + clothes = ??) and what’s the cost to try this? When I read, “Cancel Anytime”, I’m horrified. I understand that they’re trying to tell me there’s no commitment, but why would I want to cancel? Are you unsure of what you’re selling?
The second ad is certainly the strongest. A quiz? Yes, please! Limited-time free shipping? They’ve got this lesson down.
However, let’s say the consumer doesn’t convert after taking Nadine West’s quiz, but they remember the brand name and search it again later. This is when you can ad is free to come out swinging- and Nadine West didn’t disappoint in their heavy intent ad:
These are ads that are relatable to search terms, and the call to action properly relates to the customer’s intent.
Sticking everything that you need to into your text ads can feel like a chore, but the call to action is never something that you should skimp on. With these reasons why you might not be getting the click you want to see come one last important message: test everything!
What Google ads CTA did you see that you want to test? Are there any suggestions we missed? Let us know in the comments.
Evie is dedicated to keeping an eagle eye on her PPC and digital marketing accounts. When she’s not scouring through her accounts to make sure they’re flawless, she can be found ascending new heights in the local mountains or hiding inside the rock climbing gym when it’s too cold.
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